New research looking at Amazon customer reviews suggests that food is too sweet these days. But the customers aren’t just talking about desserts here.
This study was done by researchers from the Monell Center, who analyzed about 400,000 food reviews posted by Amazon’s customers. Their goal? To gain insight into the food choices that people make. And the results show that many of those people think that food is too sweet these days.
“This is the first study of this scale to study food choice beyond the artificial constraints of the laboratory,” said study lead author Danielle Reed, Ph.D., who is a behavioral geneticist at Monell. “Sweet was the most frequently mentioned taste quality and the reviewers definitively told us that human food is over-sweetened.”
Thousands of people think food is too sweet
The analysis was done with the help of a sophisticated statistical modeling program. Because the figures of the research are staggering: 393,568 unique food reviews were analyzed, of 67,553 products, posted by 256,043 Amazon customers over 10 years.
The scientists identified words connected to taste, odor, spiciness, texture, cost, health, but also customer service. Having the words, researchers counted the number of reviews that mentioned these categories.
“Reading and synthesizing almost 400,000 reviews would essentially be impossible for a human team, but recent developments in machine learning gave us the ability to understand both which words are present and also their underlying semantic meaning,” said study co-author Joel Mainland, Ph.D., an olfactory neurobiologist at Monell.
Sweet taste was mentioned in over 10 percent of food reviews, but also over-sweetness was mentioned 25 more times than under-sweetness. Almost 1 percent of the food reviews, so about 4,000 used the phrase “too sweet”.
This comes in the face of more and more scientific data figuring out that sugar is one of the biggest dietary villains we have. Sugar is hidden in plenty of products that are not even supposed to be sweet.
If you’re thinking about cutting back on sugar, here are some ways you can do that.